Law enforcement officials have cleared Lee Elementary School after a reported hostage threat believed to be coming from inside the school was found to be false.
Riley County police officers surrounded the building early Wednesday morning when the police department received a call from a man who claimed to be inside the school with a hostage. The man later made claims to the police department as well as KSNT News that he had committed other felony crimes and had a person at gunpoint inside the building.
The RCPD officers, as well as Kansas Highway Patrol, did not begin to clear the building until shortly before 7 a.m., finding no evidence of the man.
Police believe that the call was fabricated and that the person who made the call is not local. They believe that the call was an attempt to receive air time on news stations.
While a few officers were keeping students and parents away from the building at 7:30 a.m., the school district announced that school would be in session at Lee on Wednesday, and buses would make their regular drop offs at the school later in the morning.
Erica Bammes, principal at Lee Elementary, said that school operations weren’t affected too much, since the building was cleared before the regular start of the school day, although the morning portion of Boys and Girls Club was canceled.
About 140 students were absent Wednesday, compared to a total student body of about 510, which Bammes said included students out because of illness but was still a high rate of absent students compared to other days.
RCPD spokeswoman Hali Rowland said the department will look at the origin of the call as part of its investigation. She declined to discuss the details of the investigation, including the claimed felonies, so as to not give the man any additional attention.